A definition for the word “initiative” is “recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it.” As good as this definition is, it is not adequate for the mature Christian. We all know that we can take the initiative to do something that may need to be done but it may not be God’s will for us to do it. Perhaps He has other plans for us.
Jesus saw many things that needed to be done but He didn’t take the initiative to do them. Instead, He sought the will of His Heavenly Father (Jn 5:19; Is. 50:50:4-5). Then He took the initiative to do what He knew His Father wanted Him to do.
If we are going to be like Jesus, we too need to seek God’s will for us and then take the initiative to do it. The way we can understand what God’s will is for us is to first focus upon the responsibilities we already have as parents, children, workers, employers, etc. We are to take the initiative to recognize and fulfill those responsibilities without being asked or coerced into doing them.
God uses His Word to speak to us and to give us specific direction. When you are reading scripture and suddenly a specific verse or passage really speaks to your heart and applies to your situation, then that is God’s rhema (spoken word) to you. That is His will for you. That is His promise to you. What He promises, He will fulfill.
For us, then, initiative also refers to “acting on the rhemas that God gives to us in His Word.” When David was unsure as whether he should pursue some marauding Amalakites, He sought the Lord. The Lord gave him a rhema that he should pursue them and that he would rescue all that was taken (1 Sam. 30:9). David then took the initiative and pursued them and defeated them.
The quality of initiative touches many areas of our lives:
1. It transfers the supervision of a task from an external source to an internal discipline.
2. It makes us be more alert to the needs around us.
3. It forces us to discern what our responsibilities are in a given situation.
4. It nudges us to put action with our abilities.
5. It rebukes our tendency to procrastinate.
6. It teaches us to use our time wisely. (But busyness is not a virtue and rest is not a waste of time.)
7. It helps us to see opportunities that we have rather than wasting time waiting for something better to come along.
8. It makes us sensitive to what God wants us to do.
9. It encourages us to begin where we are and with what we have.
10. It gets us to do what we are supposed to do.
By making initiative a daily habit, we accomplish much and are prepared for big opportunities.